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Yuet Lee [San Francisco]

Had a free lunch today in the city and decided to swing by Yuet Lee. I'd been a long time ago (10+ years) before I really came to enjoy eating, but the decor hasn't changed one bit. I decided to start with the roast squab and then added on the ginger-scallion dungeness crab. The waitress looked at me like I was crazy as a solo diner, but frankly, it wasn't that much food given I didn't eat rice.

The squab was fantastic. Crisp skin. Bones fried to a crisp, i.e. could hold the head like a lollipop (by the beak) and just crunch down on the entire orb. And meat all just the right side of medium rare, with a slightly pink center. I absolutely loved this dish. It was my first time eating squab, as I've always had duck / quail, but this immediately jumps to the top of my edible bird list. Maybe tied with goose...

The dungeness crab? Wow. I've never had live, in-season, locally sourced dungeness. I had no idea what I was missing. The flesh was sweet, tender and so fresh tasting. The ginger scallion was great, but in reality, I probably didn't need it. In all likelihood, I am going to swing by and pick up a steamed (no sauce) crab tomorrow for lunch before I leave the city.

I know Yuet Lee gets great reviews and I am glad I listened. Great meal and a new appreciation for squab and dungeness crab. I see the salt and pepper ribs get top reviews - may have to try that as well.


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  1. Unfortunately Yuet Lee is closed Tuesdays.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Ok, that is really really disappointing :( May just have to go to the ferry building then for lunch. Seems like a lot of nicer restaurants are tied up this week by some conference.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Any other rec on where I can get good dungeness? Open to Chinese or other cuisines. Always interested in new preperations...


        1. re: FattyDumplin

          woodhouse fish company does fresh dungeness served half or whole.

          1. re: FattyDumplin

            For Vietnamese roast Pepper Crab you can go to PPQ Dungeness Island,Thanh Long, or Yummy Yummy.

        2. How much did they charge for the crab? I've noticed them weighing them, so I assume they charge per pound. And did you have it salt & pepper style or just steamed with ginger scallion on the side?

          I had the squab there recently and agree that it's excellent. It comes with a golden roasted head on the plate... not sure if you're supposed to eat it, but I found it missing from my box of leftovers!

          4 Replies
          1. re: hyperbowler

            $29 flat rate. Probably pricey by chinatown standards, but it was a good-sized crab. I had it stir-fried with ginger scallion. Were I to do it again, I'd get it steamed with ginger scallion on the side - I feel like the stir frying overpowered the natural deliciousness of the crab.

            Hmm, the head? I ate it, like a lollipop. Maybe wasn't supposed to eat it, but it sure tasted good going down.

            1. re: FattyDumplin

              I also order a few dishes as a solo diner. But maybe in Chinese restaurants they viewed it more as sharing a bunch of dishes. But also 29 bucks for the whole crab doesn't sound bad, especially if it's at least a pound and a half.

          2. Next time try that salt & pepper sparerib (which is pork cutlet). I also love their chow fun; it's a bit different from other chow funs.

            1. I have been eating their salt and pepper prawns for something close to 25 years. Best I've ever had. Eat them whole, head and all, for the best experience.

              1 Reply
              1. re: peterme

                definitely. it's like getting a dish full of the fried amaebi heads at a sushi joint, for a fraction of hte price.

              2. the curry beef brisket i had was very rich in curry taste. the beef brisket very tender.
                curry not the usual american fare but maybe hong kong or indian origined.

                1. Boy, am I glad to read this. Loved YL for years and visited whenever I was in SF, but the last couple of visits (the last about 18 months ago, maybe) it hasn't been nearly what it once was. What a pleasure. Will look for cheapo airfares just for that crab.

                  1. My most recent visit to Yuet Lee was just before midnight on May 14. The staff were stacking up the chairs, but they waved me inside. I had my two favorite things there, beef chow fun dry style and salt & pepper squid (half order).

                    Somehow I missed the news until today that Timmy "B" Yu (Wing Tim Yu), the owner and main chef of Yuet Lee, passed away a few days later on May 20, 2014.
                    The Central Police Station dedicated its lobby to him this month.

                    RIP Mr B, thanks for the great eats and so many late nights.

                    1. Last night I was back at Yuet Lee to introduce my brother to my favorite dishes. This was my first time back since Mr B's passing, and I'm happy to say the cooking was unchanged. In fact, I thought the Salt & Pepper Squid might be a little better than the last time, cooked exactly on point.

                      Besides the squid and the dry style beef chow fun, we had Clams and Peppers in Black Bean Sauce and Minced Beef, Cilantro and Green Onion Jook. William was very pleased. Like me, he's had these dishes many times at many other places, and he recognized the extra tasty wok technique and freshness of the seafood here. He remarked that the squid batter was still crisp even after it cooled down --- "how can something that thin and light stay crunchy?"

                      (This was also my chance to play with my brother's new iPhone 6 Plus. These are the first photos he's taken with it. I think they look awfully good considering the fluorescent lighting and green painted walls.)